Adygzhy, the Tuva shaman - by Éva Kanalas

Hungarian film about shaman traditions of Tuva, 163 min, 2018
in Hungarian

Show times:

Director: Éva Kanalas

“His fate was sealed at birth. They knew from his gaze that he would be a chayaakchy kham.”

The archaic Tuva shamanic heritage still lives today. The everyday shamanic activities of Shii-oglu Adygzhy, Tuva kham of the Oyun tribe, among indigenous Tuva families living in the Sayan and Tangdy-oola mountain ranges. Russian Federation, Republic of Tuva, Inner Asia, South Siberia.

Valley of Kings, Turan Plains, Republic of Tuva. Arzhaan means spring or source. Shii-oglu Adygzhy, Tuva shaman who inherited the ancient knowledge of his ancestors from his father’s side, put on his shamanic dress and established a connection with the local spirits by performing a propitiation ritual at the burial site of a royal Scythian couple. He bowed before the ancestors.

Following this the Tuva shaman allowed me to capture one of a kind ethnographic footage of his work. I spent several months among Tuva families and captured a range of ceremonies, mostly 49th day after death rituals, house and flat cleansings and offering rituals conducted in nature. Unusual situations too, for example at the Saga Lunar New Year celebration in which Sholban Kara-Ool, president of Tuva, participated in the shamans’ ceremony. I also captured rituals that had been requested by journalists, tv reporters and foreigners performed by South Siberian khams living in the shaman office performing. Thus I had the opportunity to get a glimpse into his real life and into the everyday lives of shamans that live in South Siberia today.

Adygzhy, his name means archer.

The Tuvans accepted me; till then they had not allowed similar footage to the outside world. Shooting this unique documentary material was only possible for me as a Hungarian algysh singer, not as a researcher. (Algysh: blessing song, supplication, ritual song of the shaman.)

Thus I was the first to witness Adygzhy bashky’s shamanic activity among the Tuva people living along the Yenisei. I knew instantly that I had been searching for him in Tuva for years.

It was fate that I met Adygzhy. I arrived from the western side of the Eurasian Steppe, from the Great Hungarian Plain. He was waiting for me, and I managed to find him, travelling to Tuva eight times.

The Tuva shaman revealed his carefully protected knowledge to me. A fire eater. Chayaakchy-kham is Tuvan for shaman with hereditary knowledge.

Éva Kanalas

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